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The Night of the Hunted
The Night of the Hunted (1980, French title: La nuit des traquees)received some of the worst notices of Jean Rollin's career. To be certain, it's not a particularly good movie, but it does contain some unusually effective scenes. In part, it resembles David Cronenberg's Shivers, but it's a more controlled and contemplative film. It involves a group of people who have been affected by a radioactive leak. Their minds slowly deteriorate until they become vegetables. One young woman, played by Brigitte Lahaie, wants to remember her past, but nothing sticks in her mind. In the movie's first scene, she escapes from the monolithic office tower where the affected people are held. On a highway outside of town, she meets a young man, who stops and picks her up. Later, at his apartment, she initiates a protracted sexual encounter with the young man--while professing that she wants to remember what happens--in a sequence that manages to be erotic without being exploitative. An overpowering feeling of melancholy overwhelms the scene as the woman searches for some sensation that won't dissolve from her mind minutes later. It becomes a key sequence that provides the motivation for later events. Unlike the arbitrary, obligatory sexual encounters that frequently appear in Rollin's films, this encounter is well grounded in the characterizations and the plot. As a result, it acquires a mournful, horribly sad atmosphere--especially once we realize these memories will indeed leave her mind only minutes after the young man goes to work the following morning.

Outside of this relationship, Rollin's next area of interest in The Night of the Hunted is the relationship between Brigitte Lahaie and another asylum inmate, Dominque Journet. They develop a close friendship, with the camera focusing on their confused faces. They're lost souls who understand just enough to realize the horrible depth of their illness and how it has affected their minds. But outside of these relationships, Rollin lets the movie drift lazily, with frequently poor photographic compositions.


Go to:
The Shiver of the Vampires
Requiem for a Vampire
The Demoniacs
Lips of Blood
The Night of the Hunted
The Living Dead Girl